Signs of Turkey-Egypt reconciliation at summit
REUTERS photoTense relations between Turkey and Egypt could soon give way to reconciliation as Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attended the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul and handed the term presidency to Turkey.
The Egyptian minister, who came directly to the summit from Atatürk Airport, attended the opening ceremony of the OIC summit, during which he staged a speech to hand over the term presidency of the OIC to Turkey, which is hosting the summit for the first time since the body’s foundation in 1969, for a period of two years.
Shoukry said he was addressing the body on behalf of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since el-Sisi, a former army chief, toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, after mass protests against the latter’s rule.
The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed anger over the coup targeting one of their key regional allies.
Shoukry called on Muslim countries to form a common approach against Islamophobia, which he said was a flagrant violation of human rights, adding that terrorist groups’ attacks served to fuel Islamophobia.
“We need to form a mechanism to increase tolerance and establish a real dialogue among divine religions,” Shoukry said.
He suggested forging a dialogue with countries that have Muslim minorities “in order to enhance Muslims’ freedoms.”
Shoukry stressed that in order to fight terror, some religious rhetoric or misconceptions should be “corrected.”
“This is not important for political or security reasons. It is also important to understand Islam correctly,” he said, adding that such misconceptions led young people to join terror groups.
Erdoğan, for his part, thanked Egypt for their efforts as the 12th Islamic Summit chair.
“I thank Egypt for their efforts and events they realized during their term presidency of the 12th Islamic Summit era,” said Erdoğan during his opening speech at the OIC summit in Istanbul on April 14.